Pixel Flesh

Ellen Atlanta

Pixel Flesh
Headline Publishing Group
United Kingdom
14 May 2024

Pixel Flesh

Ellen Atlanta

We are living in a new age of beauty. With advancements in cosmetic surgery, augmented reality face filters, photo editing apps, and exposure to more images than ever, we have the ability to craft a version of ourselves that we want everyone to see. We pinch, pull, squeeze, tweeze, smooth and slice ourselves beyond recognition. But is our beauty culture truly empowering? Are we really in control?

In Pixel Flesh, Ellen Atlanta holds a mirror up to our modern beauty ideal and the harm it is doing to women all around the world. Weaving in her own personal story with those of other women, she reconfigures our obsession with the cult of beauty and explores the realities of living in a digitally obsessed world where the pressure to present yourself both virtually and in person is all-consuming.

Providing an eye-opening account of the realities young women face under a dominant industry, Pixel Flesh unmasks the absurdities of the dystopia we find ourselves living in. Both a rallying cry and a refusal to suffer in silence, this is the defining book on what it feels like to exist as a woman today.


Pixel Flesh: How Toxic Beauty Culture Harms Women by Ellen Atlanta is a profoundly impactful addition to the discourse surrounding modern beauty culture. From coloniser cultures to the fetishisation of youth, each chapter delves into the web of toxic beauty culture and navigates the complexities of the beauty industry’s influence, exposing its effects on women’s identities in different ways.

Through meticulous research and a diverse array of voices, Atlanta captures what it’s like to navigate being a woman in today’s society. As a reader, it resonated with me on a personal level through shared experiences, yet it also opened my eyes to the breadth of experiences faced by different women. Reading these stories evoked a range of emotions within me, from frustration at the societal pressures placed on women by unattainable beauty ideals to a sense of hopefulness for a future built on strength and solidarity between women.

Atlanta captures the essence of the experience of womanhood, shedding light on the struggles that women face daily, even just the seemingly harmless inner monologue when you open your Instagram app. This continued perpetuation of unrealistic beauty ideals is apparently never-ending. From the painting of The Birth of Venus in the mid-1480s to now being faced with digitally altered photos wherever you look, these male-led industries continue to push their ideals onto women. By shining a light on the consequences of these ideals, perhaps we can start to reconsider our own perceptions of beauty and self.

In a world that is currently facing increased usage of artificial intelligence, the issue of women’s agency over their bodies and self-identities in the digital realm is becoming more important than ever. Overall, Pixel Flesh is a must-read for women of all ages, as there is something that can be taken from Atlanta’s writing no matter what life-stage you are in.

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